The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean
Chipinge farmer attacked
Phil Mennie in the Avenues Clinic, Harare, after his attack
CHIPINGE - At 1100 hrs on Sunday, Phillip Mennie, 50, was dragged from his vehicle at his farm gate in Middle Sabi (Chipangayi), Chipinge district, by six men. The leader of the gang was self-styled war vet Nyahunwe, who head-butted Mennie. Members of the group then kicked, punched and beat him with sticks. Mennie, who has glaucoma of both eyes, was unable to see after a blow to the back of the head was unable to see.
Two other farmers came to assist and both were severely head-butted and beaten off with sticks. Mennie was taken to Chipinge Hospital and the superficial wounds attended to. But, due his head injuries, the resident doctor ordered him to be flown by MARS to the Avenues Clinic in Harare. He was admitted at 8pm Sunday night having had x-rays and CT scans. He was conscious and his condition was stable.

The Mennies obtained a High Court order against Nyahunwe on May 23, ordering him off their farm. He defied this order and began to plant crops. On June 9 a new High Court order was obtained by Mennie and served on Nyahunwe by the Police – whom he told to go to hell. Eventually after further harassment the Police Support Unit were brought in and Nyahunwe, was detained in Chipinge cells for three days. He was released last Tuesday, and allegedly carried out this attack five days later.

It could not be established at the time of going to press whether anyone had been arrested for Mennie’s assault but it is understood charges of attempted murder are being laid against Nyahunwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

UN News Centre

Zimbabwe: UN envoy on evictions says freedom of movement is fundamental

7 July 2005 - The United Nations Special Envoy examining the humanitarian
aspects of the evictions of thousands of poor people from housing and
businesses during Zimbabwe's winter today visited a demolition site on her
way to Victoria Falls, the United Nations spokesman said today.

This morning, the Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme
(UN-HABITAT), Anna Tibaijuka, "stopped in the town of Hwange and inspected
recent demolitions of homes. Later, she was shown sites the Government has
set aside for new housing," Stéphane Dujarric said at the daily briefing.
"She will also travel to Victoria Falls for further inspections."

He quoted her as having said yesterday, "In a democracy people cannot be
forced to stay away from a city, nor can they be forced out of a city. The
freedom of movement is a fundamental right. People come to the cities for
economic opportunity. If you try to ship them away it doesn't work. They
will come back, anyway."

Ms. Tibaijuka, who extended her stay in Zimbabwe by nearly another week,
will be in the capital of the Southern African country, Harare, for a final
round of meetings tomorrow and is hoping to fly to the Kenyan capital,
Nairobi, where UN-HABITAT is headquartered, on Saturday.

She was to report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on her findings.

Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order) began four weeks ago in what the
Government called an effort to clean up cities and fight the black market
across Zimbabwe. As a result, tens of thousands of homes and market stalls
have been destroyed.

Ten United Nations special rapporteurs on human freedoms and rights issued a
statement late last month expressing concern about the "recent mass forced
evictions in Zimbabwe and related human rights violations" and raising
questions about the negative effects on supplies of water and food,
education and health care, including HIV/AIDS treatment.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said it has been working with Government
ministries and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to distribute
drinking water, sanitation equipment, health care supplies, blankets and
plastic sheeting to affected children and women.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


UN Chief's Comments Hearten Zimbabwe Opposition

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan moved the Zimbabwe debate up a
notch in comments published Thursday on the front page of the Financial
Times, saying the African political leadership must break its collective
silence on Harare's program of home demolitions if it wants to be credible
in the eyes of the world.

Former Canadian prime minister Joe Clark noted, however, in an interview
with the Voice of America, that Mr. Annan's were in response to a question
from the FT reporter, as opposed to being a deliberate statement of U.N.

Nigerian President Olushegun Obasanjo, currently chairman of the African
Union, told reporters in London meanwhile that he will not publicly condemn
Mr. Mugabe.

Many international and local political observers believe the solution to the
Zimbabwe crisis lies in intervention by other African leaders, verbal or

Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought insight on
the significance of the secretary general's statement from Marion Tupy,
assistant director of the Project on Global Economic Liberty at the Cato
Institute in Washington.

The secretary general's comments were hailed by Zimbabwe human rights

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights activist Otto Saki tells Studio Seven
reporter Patience Rusere that Mr. Annan's comments are a step in the right
Back to the Top
Back to Index


UN Envoy Tibaijuka Finds Demolition Aftermath "Depressing"
      Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
      07 July 2005

United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka concluded her fact-finding in
Bulawayo on Thursday and headed for Victoria Falls, a tourist town in the
far west of Zimbabwe that has also been hit hard by the Harare government's
slum clearance drive.

During her tour of flattened suburbs around Zimbabwe's second-largest city,
Mrs. Tibaijuka described as "depressing" the pattern of destruction left in
the wake of the state-directed program of home demolitions and informal
business shutdowns.

Correspondent Netsai Mlilo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe filed a report on
Mrs. Tibaijuka's investigations in and around the city of Bulawayo.

In the course of her meetings in Bulawayo, Mrs. Tibaijuka had frank omments
for the governor of Bulawayo province about the state's forced resettlement

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

AU envoy packs bags in frustration
Fri 8 July 2005

      HARARE - An African Union (AU) envoy sent to probe Zimbabwe's
controversial clean-up campaign yesterday packed his bags and flew out of
Harare empty-handed after President Robert Mugabe's government barred him
from carrying out his mission, it was learnt last night.

      A frustrated Bahare Tom Nyanduga, rapporteur for refugees on the AU
Commission for Human and People's Rights, checked out of his Ambassador
Hotel in central Harare yesterday morning, exactly a week after arriving in
the country with high hopes of carrying out his mission. He left via South
Africa for the union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

      AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako, confirmed Nyanduga's departure to
ZimOnline by telephone from Addis Ababa. "Yes he (Nyanduga) left Harare this
morning for Addis Ababa but I will find out more tomorrow, then I will be
able to tell you more," said Orjiako.

      The AU spokesman would not say whether another mission to Harare was
being planned but sources yesterday said the union had confirmed it would
send another envoy.

      Nyanduga's mission failed to take off the ground after the Zimbabwean
authorities objected to his mission saying it was in breach of protocol
because the AU had only advised Harare of its emissary's mission when he was
already airborne to the southern African nation.

      Harare told the union to recall Nyanduga and to follow proper
procedures when appointing a new envoy.

      The AU man had earlier this week extended his stay in Zimbabwe hoping
that the Zimbabwean government would change its position and allow him to
undertake his mission.

      Yesterday, Nyanduga would not comment on his aborted mission but said
the AU would issue a statement after he had briefed AU Commission chairman,
Alpha Konare, who sent him to Zimbabwe in a major policy U-turn after the
African body had initially said it would not interfere with Mugabe's
clean-up drive because it was an internal matter.

      As Nyanduga gave up his Zimbabwe mission, residents in Epworth, a
sprawling settlement on Harare's south-eastern boundary were yesterday
demolishing their homes after the police ordered them to do so.

      Close to a million people have been left homeless after the police and
soldiers used fire and bulldozers to raze down backyard cottages in cities
and to demolish shanty towns in a campaign roundly condemned by the United
Nations, United States, European Union, Zimbabwean and international human
rights groups as a gross violation of poor people's rights.

      Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, which
enjoys more support in cities, has also castigated the campaign as a ploy to
punish urban residents for rejecting Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party in
last March's disputed poll.

      The government has defended the clean-up exercise as necessary to
smash crime and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities.

      A UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka, sent to Zimbabwe two weeks ago to probe the
mass evictions was yesterday winding up her tour of the country with a visit
to the resort town of Victoria Falls where thousands of families have also
been cast onto the streets by the government.

      She is expected to leave Zimbabwe today and to submit a report on her
findings to UN boss, Koffi Annan, in two weeks time.

      Meanwhile, police authorities in Harare have confirmed that at least
five people died in the clean-up operation but they denied any
responsibility. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Harare runs out of bread
Fri 8 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's capital Harare has run out of bread and the
National Bakers Association (NBA) yesterday blamed the shortage on the
country's long running fuel crisis that has worsened in recent weeks.

      Long queues could be seen yesterday at the few shops in Harare that
were selling bread and ZimOnline reporters from the second largest city of
Bulawayo and other parts of the country reported that the bread shortage was
spreading with many shops there without the vital commodity.

      NBA executive member David Govere said the non-availability of bread
was because the government's National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) was
unable to supply bakers with enough paraffin and diesel they use to heat

      "If a baker needs 100 000 litres of diesel, paraffin or petrol, NOCZIM
is only able to supply at least 10-15 000 litres to every baker," Govere

      "As long as there is not enough petrol, paraffin, and diesel there
will be shortages of bread. Our ovens need paraffin or diesel for heating
purposes. We will flood the country with bread once the heating commodities
are there," the NBA boss added, dispelling speculation that the shortage
might have been because there is no flour, itself in short supply after poor
wheat harvests last season.

      Govere said millers were supplying members of his association with
enough flour although there was always need for extra.

      The shortage of bread is only one in an ever growing list of vital
commodities ranging from essential medical drugs to electricity to hard cash
that are in short supply in Zimbabwe as the country grapples a severe
economic recession now in its sixth year.

      In some cases, commodities are not found in shops not because they not
available in the country but simply because there is no packaging material
or fuel to transport them to shops.

      Three weeks ago, beer was in short supply because the manufacturer
could not source enough caps for beer bottles, while sugar was in short
supply because there were no polyurethane bags to pack it in for the market
and all this because there was no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers of the
packaging materials.

      Inflation stands at 144.4 percent, joblessness at 80 percent while an
estimated four million Zimbabweans or a quarter of the country's total
population face starvation unless donors chip in with 1.2 million tonnes of
food aid.

      Critics blame Zimbabwe's economic meltdown on mismanagement by
President Robert Mugabe and the frequent food shortages on his chaotic and
violent programme to seize farms from whites.

      The Zimbabwean leader denies mismanaging Zimbabwe and instead blames
Western governments opposed to his farm seizure programme of sabotaging his
country's economy in bid to incite revolt against his rule. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Zimbabwe wants people to go rural
Fri 8 July 2005

      PRETORIA - A senior Zimbabwe government official was at pains to
defend the clean up exercise saying thousands of families evicted in the
clean up exercise must move to the rural areas.

      Pritchard Zhou, the Minister Counsellor at the Zimbabwean embassy in
Pretoria, told a seminar on the demolitions organised by South Africa's
Institute of Security Studies (ISS) that 130 000 families had been displaced
in the demolition campaign.

      He said he could nevertheless not quantify the numbers of individuals
involved because sizes of families differed.

      The United Nations and the Movement for Democratic Change estimate
that between 300 000 and 1.5 million people have been made homeless in the

      Zhou's statement sharply differed with President Mugabe's claim in
Libya earlier this week that no one had been rendered homeless as a result
of the ruthless campaign which has been condemned by the international
community. .

      "Where are they? We don't know about those. It's just nonsense,"
Mugabe said in response to questions from journalists on the hundreds of
thousands made homeless.

      Zhou did not answer a question seeking clarification on the
discrepancies between his figures and the President's claims. Zhou said at
least 5 000 two bedroomed core-houses would be built as part of an effort to
provide accommodation to those displaced.

      Land would also be made available to local authorities to provide
stands to those who can build their own houses.

      But he emphasised that not everyone would be catered for and the
government expected people to move into the rural areas, especially those
who could neither afford the two bedroomed houses nor to build on
residential stands.

      "Although I understand that it has been a very unpopular suggestion
that people should go to the rural areas, clearly in our situation which is
perhaps different from here in South Africa . . . almost everybody has got a
rural home (to go to)," he said, without addressing the plight of hundreds
of thousands of migrant labourers from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique who
don't have any rural homes.

      He said in the rural areas, people could engage in farming for

      Allegations that the urban population was being targeted to destroy
the MDC support base were therefore false, said Zhou.

      "If the aim was to destroy MDC support in the cities, clearly it (the
demolition campaign) would backfire," he said.

      "If you remove MDC people from the urban areas and send them to the
rural areas, you are simply creating problems for yourself in (those) rural
areas because they will influence people in the rural areas to be MDC. So
its not logical for that to be presented as an argument," said Zhou.

      He added: "You would rather keep them (MDC supporters) in town and
make sure that your area is safe."

      Although the government would spend Z$3 trillion in providing new
houses and residential stands under "Operation Garikai", Zhou said he did
not know where the money would be drawn from.

      In response to a question on the source of the money since no
provision had been made for it in the current year's budget, Zhou said: "All
I know is money comes from government. That's all."

      Mr Zhou went to great lengths to justify "Operation Murambatsvina"
saying it was not a new phenomenon. Similar demolitions of shacks happened
regularly in South Africa.

      "We cannot have Africa as a land of shacks.....Our demolitions will
encourage people to have proper accommodation," he said. He said the
ultimate objective was that "our places should look like Europe or America".

      "Africa should not be a shackland," he said.

      It was pointed out to him that no one would want to live in a shack
but that most people had no other alternative as they were impoverished
mainly as a result of his government's poor economic policies, but Zhou
skirted the question.

      The operation had become inevitable as illegal businesses were
damaging the economy and shantytowns had become a haven for criminals, he

      Informal settlements had also exerted a severe strain on services and
sewerage systems meant to service smaller populations where now regularly
breaking down.

      Zhou also confirmed that thousands of people were arrested, saying
this formed part of the operation's aim to "flush out criminals".

      Zhou said illegal traders would be relocated to new sites. A total of
1 192 flea market stalls in Harare were ready for occupation, he said.

      Defence attache at the Zimbabwean embassy Colonel Richmond Ncube
explained the involvement of the military in the campaign. He said the army
was only involved in "Operation Garikai" and was helping in the re-building
exercise to provide alternative housing and social infrastructure.

      The army was not involved in "Operation Murambatsvina", he said. -

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Lawyers worry about delay

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-08

LAWYERS representing the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) are
concerned over alleged delays by the High Court in hearing their application
against the Harare commission's extension of tenure.
CHRA  is suing Judge George Chiweshe in his capacity as the head of Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Harare Commission following the extension
of tenure for the commission by another six months.
The commission's tenure had expired on June 9 this year, but was extended by
the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development,
Ignatius Chombo.
In an urgent letter to Judge President Paddington Garwe dated July 1 2005, a
copy of which is in possession of this newspaper, Rangu Nyamurundira from
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), representing CHRA, said despite
the initial certificate of urgency and further enquiries, the matter was yet
to be heard.
The High Court has since acknowledged receiving the letter the day it was
"On 7th June we lodged an urgent chamber application on behalf of CHRA
arising from violations of the electoral laws and Urban Councils Act asking
this honourable court to urgently rectify the situation. It was served on
all parties the same day and was allocated to the Honourable Mrs Justice
(Lavender) Makoni.
"Despite the initial certificate of urgency and a number of enquiries, no
action has been taken and nothing has been heard from the Judge,"
Nyamurundira said.
The lawyer also said they had written another letter to Makoni on June 16
asking for guidance on how to deal with the matter, but to date no response
had been received.
He claimed that the judge had heard other matters that were filed long after
their urgent application.
"We are advised that part of this time she has been away, but we have also
been told of other applications filed after this case which have been dealt
with by the judge," Nyamurundira submitted.
He also said the Harare Commission had continued to administer Harare in
contravention of relevant statutory provisions.
Nyamurundira also bemoaned the denial of CHRA's urgent application hearing
or reasons why it could not be heard.
"The statute has not been changed since 2001/2002 when our courts halted the
government's similar contempt for its laws on an urgent basis," he said.
In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled against the extension of the Elijah
Chanakira-led commission's term of office.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Black market fuel hits $100 000 a litre

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-08

DRIVERS in Harare are stranded, as black market petrol prices have
skyrocketed from $70 000 to $100 000 a litre as fuel shortages persist.
Black market petrol traders have since increased their prices, placing the
cost of a drum of petrol at  $20million, up from $14million last week.
 These sudden increases have since forced commuter operators, the main
customers in the black market, to increase their commuter fares from $5 000
to $7 000 within a month.
"There's nothing we can do about it because we only get fuel on the black
market. Since they have increased their prices we also have to increase our
fares in order to remain on the road," said commuter omnibus driver Tembo
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Press Statement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
TWENTY NINE members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), a civic movement for women to speak out on burning issues go to trial on 11 July 2005 in the Bulawayo Provincial Magistrates Court 4. Most of the women are victims of Operation Murambatsvina, having lost goods as vendors and their homes in the demolitions. The women conducted a peaceful protest on 18 June 2005 calling for a halt to the Operation.
WOZA have been on a fundraising campaign to secure funding for legal representation and wish to advise that legal counsel has been secured although with only a few days to go. Advocate Perpetua Dube has been retained to represent the women who are charged with contravening the Miscellaneous Offences Action Section 3 (2) (g) Chapter 9:15, "Encumbers or obstructs the free passage along any street, road, thoroughfare, sidewalk or pavement." They could face a fine and or 3 month imprisonment.
The women gathered in Bulawayo today and reaffirmed their commitment to civil disobedience and peaceful activism. They recognised that observing their God given right to speak out and assemble cannot be criminalised. As they attend court on Monday, it will not be they on trial but Operation Murambatsvina that will be brought under inspection. WOZA therefore call upon Zimbabweans to attend the court in solidarity and witness 'Operation Murambatsvina' being accorded the right to defend itself.
WOZA attended the meeting with the United Nations Special Envoy in Bulawayo today. A report will be submitted to the delegation. In the appeal for assistance the report highlights that Zimbabweans are not expendable and that the time has come for accountability for the political leadership. Mugabe has been operating with such impunity, and he expects voluntary organizations and the international community to clean up after him. Why did the Government not consult and put in place disaster management structures before launching the operation? If they continue to implement the 'clean up' in this way it points to retribution rather than restore order.
8th July 2005
For more information, please contact
Jenni Williams +263 91 300 456,
Magodonga Mahlangu +263 91 362 668
Comments from the State outline: The State versus Jennifer Louise Williams and 28 others.
Jennifer Louise Williams (43) Siphiwe Maseko (34) Magodonga Mahlangu (32) Shingirai Mupani (65) Milia Moyo (71) Thandile Sesedza (44) Beauty Gwetshwayo (62) Khetiwe Ncube (42) Rudo Mtethwa (42) Saziwe Zitha (37) Karen Mugomo (21) Esther Ngulube  (68) Siphethangani Ndlovu (31) Sennie Dube (60) Rejoice Chauke (35) Donanary Tembo  (35) Thalitha Tendesa (64) Edna Ncube (60) Varaidzo Mawire (30)  Sinini Mhlanga (34) Zuzile Ngwenya (35) Duduzile Moyo (36) Zanele Sibanda (21) Perpetua Dube (38) Maria Moyo (45) Ivy Ngwenya (42) Thoko Dube (33) Fagress Sibanda (40)
The women were carrying placards which had the following inscriptions on them:
The liberation guns have been turned against us. Are we the trash?  We are refuges in our own motherland. We are refugees in the country of our great grandmothers. A bird is better - it at least has a nest. Makokoba our pride is gone. Our Ancestors are turning in graves. Phansi lo Murambatsvina. 'Our orphans are dying of cold'. Wena Sithembiso (Hey You Sithembiso) - what are you now saying about our projects.
The women also had some cloth banners inscribed WOZA Defending Women's Rights Sokwanele, enough is enough, Zvakwana.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

Zim protesters at Hyde Park
LONDON - A group of Zimbabweans joined the 200,000 people who thronged to
Hyde Park last weekend for Live 8. The marchers attracted a fair amount of
attention from the public and the media along their route from Zimbabwe
House in Charing Cross to Hyde Park Corner.
They carried a large banner with the legend: "Mugabe's Police destroyed our
orphanage. Don't just stand by and watch", picturing children from Tariro
Preschool Orphanage in Hatcliffe Extension, which was destroyed in Operation
Murambatsvina between May 26 and June 2.

The Dominican Sisters Convent had sponsored the development of Hatcliffe
Extension by raising money through Project Luminescence since 1992, when
people were placed there by the government - in a temporary holding camp.
For the past 10 years they have helped develop the community by sinking
eight boreholes and getting many suffering from HIV onto antiretroviral
programs. Their work was all but destroyed on the night of May 26 when about
3000 policemen arrived and ordered the destruction of the homes of more than
10,000 people. The sisters found them the next morning sitting next to the
remains of their houses - the children were terrified, many were weeping and
some people were missing.

Zimbabwean photographer Johnny has been involved in raising funds for the
Hatcliffe project. He said he had been devastated when he heard the news
that the orphanage had been destroyed. "There is no way to justify or
rationalise it. We are at Hyde Park today to raise awareness about this
tragedy. These people who are being persecuted are very poor, they have no
power and no voice, specifically the orphans at Hatcliffe. We are here to
urge African leaders to go beyond old friendships and alliances and have the
courage to call their peers on their brutality," he said.

The demonstrators were hoping that as people passed them to enter the
concert they would be forced to think about what was happening in Zimbabwe
at the moment. They also called on the UN to sidestep courtesy and diplomacy
with Mugabe and address the atrocities that are occurring.

A spokeswoman for Project Luminescence expressed her concern and disbelief
at what the government had done "We are saddened beyond words that this
atrocity has happened to them."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean
Aid is the problem, not the solution
Zimbabwean protesters outside the Live8 concert in Hyde Park on Saturday with their orphan banner
Credit: KJW
Make Poverty History. What a beautiful idea. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our tax money went to this great cause and we managed to create enough employment in Africa to help every family feed, clothe, house and educate themselves, generating more and more wealth?
Unfortunately Sir Bob Geldof, with all due respect, is horribly misguided.

Geldof would have us believe that if we gave more money to Africa, it would be used to build much-needed hospitals, schools, dams and housing, and infrastructure that would improve business, creating a self-sustaining and prosperous Africa.

Certainly, money is required for all these things. Geldof has suggested that we should not be put off by Africa’s corrupt history, that there is now a ‘governing body’ called the OAU, where African leaders are held accountable by their peers.

The OAU, Geldof would have us believe, would step in and chastise a member leader. I ask you, with genuine tears in my eyes, what has the OAU ever done?

I am an ex-Zimbabwean, with family still in Zimbabwe, and I would like to ask what the OAU did when Mugabe ordered farmers and farm workers to be beaten, raped and murdered and thrown off their land?

What did the OAU do when Mugabe turned a country - its main exports being farm produce, and with a surplus that earned it the name ‘the bread basket of Africa’ - into one where the majority of the population are reliant on food aid?

What did the OAU do when Mugabe stole election after election, and relied on torture, intimidation, massacres and vote-rigging to stay in power?

They stood by, even offering him their support as a hero in Africa, and watched Mugabe use food as a weapon by denying food aid to opposition supporters.

That was aid provided by the West, and which Geldof would have us double, used directly against the poor in Africa.

What is the OAU doing now that Mugabe has ordered the poor in the cities to destroy their own houses? What is the OAU doing to make sure that these thousands are going to be resettled and re-housed?

What is the OAU doing now that Mugabe has slowly but surely taken from his people, almost every human right we all take for granted, including freedom of expression, freedom of public gatherings, even the right to live in their own homes?

I have not seen widespread condemnation of these actions by the OAU, or world leaders. The OAU is outspoken in its support for these crimes.

What have the OAU ever done to keep this leader in check? This body, Geldof would have us believe, should now be trusted with double the aid money, as this would miraculously end all corruption and make Africa free.
Money handouts are not the answer to Africa’s problems. Almost every country in Africa would be self-sufficient and her population would not be hungry if it were not for heinous mismanagement.

Zimbabwe has the second-largest platinum deposits in the world. It has gold. It used to be the world’s second-largest producer of the finest-grade tobacco, and it used to export food to the EU and the rest of Africa.
Zimbabwe had a thriving economy, with manufacturing, an extensive retail sector (both formal and informal) and well-established services industries. Tourists used to flock to this great land that boasted some of the best wildlife in the world, and boasts one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls.

Mugabe has systematically stripped each and every sector, and each and every Zimbabwean except the ruling elite. This elite awarded themselves, and left idle, once-productive farms they had stolen - and built themselves mansions, importing all the fittings and furnishings with scarce foreign currency that should be spent on fuel and essential imports.

Zimbabwe is not alone here. Most African countries have the resources to be wealthy. African leaders are among the world’s wealthiest people, some from having pillaged resources while leaving their people hungry, and others from embezzling foreign aid… which Geldof would have us double.

What we have done by consistently sending aid is to create wealthy leaders, not improve the lives of ordinary Africans.

If a nation is very poor, we give more aid. If we can’t see that aid changing the lives of the poor, we send even more. Governments in Africa know that if their populations are near starving, more money will come in. The more poverty they can create, the more money we give them.

If a country were ever to break out of poverty, we would stop giving away free money. Geldof would have us fuel the greed and corruption in Africa by doubling the aid to Africa.

Africa doesn’t need money. Africa needs proper management. All aid to members of the OAU should be frozen until the OAU starts doing what they are supposed to be doing. When they put pressure on rebel leaders, when they sort out their own problems and govern Africa, aid should be granted.

However, aid should never be given to any government bodies in Africa. Aid should be privately spent on the essential infrastructure so badly needed on that continent, but should never be offered to any OAU member as long as there are human-rights issues in any member country.

Sanctions should be imposed on every OAU member’s leaders until the problems of Africa’s leaders are history. Let us extend these sanctions to all dependants of these leaders – they should all be thrown out of the EU, the US, and other places where they work and study so that they know we mean to make mismanagement history.
Pressure should be put on the OAU and on these evil leaders to make corruption history, make intimidation history and make human-rights abuses history. That is the way to end poverty.

I put it to the G8 to do something wonderful, we have an opportunity here. Let’s make poverty history rather than throw our good money after bad.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean
Bennett pledges to keep fighting
Roy Bennett with his daughter on his release from prison last week
LONDON - The man they affectionately call “Pachedu” has finally been released from Prison. Former MDC Member of Parliament for Chimanimani Roy Bennett, who was imprisoned last year on October 28, was released on June 28, four months early on good behaviour.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa shortly after his release, the outspoken activist said he was happy to be reunited with his family and friends but was sad to leave people behind in the prisons under the conditions that they have to contend with.

Bennett said he was transferred to rural Mutoko prison from Harare after the authorities found out he was secretly helping inmates source money for their bail and to pay fines in order to get out of prison.

Asked about how he coped, Roy Bennett said faith in God made him pull through. He admitted feeling lonely and crying as he felt at times that he had been forgotten. But he got strength by reading the bible.

Asked if he felt his party stood by him, Bennett said he felt abandoned at one stage by the MDC as he had heard nothing from them. But he went on to say it wasn’t their fault because the whole situation was prohibitive and it was difficult for them to visit.

On whether he harbours any resentment or bad feelings towards the people that put him in prison he said, “I actually feel sorry for them. I pray that they find time to get on their knees and ask for forgiveness for the atrocities and the hardships that they have caused the people of Zimbabwe. I feel nothing but sorry for them. You cannot through hate and vengeance reduce people to nothing by destroying their homes. When I see Patrick Chinamasa (justice minister) and see the hate in his eyes, I feel very sorry for him.”

When asked what he is going to do next especially as he has lost time in jail, lost his seat in parliament and lost his commercial farm, Roy Bennett said he will never stop fighting for human rights, righteousness and justice. He said he never lost the Chimanimani seat as the whole rural election in Zimbabwe was rigged.

He said he made a pact with the people of Chimanimani that he would stand by them if they stood by him. “It is so humbling how these people have stood so strong despite the abuses and the rapes. I have great admiration and love for them and will continue to fight for their rights and a better life for them as long as I have breath left in me and as long as they want me to do it.”

“I am not worried about death and those people matter more to me than anything and all they need is a chance at a better life.”

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

Will Mugabe pull out of the UN too?
HARARE - For many years now, some of us have been telling the people of
Zimbabwe, the Southern African region and the world at large that the Mugabe
regime is an evil dictatorship whose sole purpose is to inflict pain and
suffering on innocent people. For just as long, we have largely been
ignored, if not despised as armchair analysts that are over-dosed with
infantile radicalism. The recent attack on the poorest of the poor people by
the evil regime has, however, finally convinced everyone that the Mugabe
regime's primary objective is to destroy everything good in Zimbabwe,
including its people.
The pain and suffering that has been inflicted on everyone, including unborn
children is not different from Herod's futile attempts to murder the infant
Jesus by targeting all children two years and under in and around Bethlehem
more than two thousand years ago. We all know that Herod failed in his
scheme; and so will Mugabe.

The fact that Kofi Annan has despatched his envoy, Madame Tibaijuka, on a
fact-finding mission raises the Zimbabwe crisis to a higher level that may
result in the involvement of the UN Security Council. The implications for
Bob's attendance of UN summits are grave indeed. In fact he may be forced to
pull Zimbabwe out of the UN organisation just as he did with the

Sadly, such an eventuality will still not necessarily result in the
resolution of the current crisis in Zimbabwe. The demonic dictator and his
"wives" masquerading as government ministers will probably intensify the
suffering of the people further. These are the hoodlums that have been
tripping each other to wine and dine Madame Tibaijuka in a futile attempt to
influence her report. They have also been lining up fictitious housing
schemes in order to hoodwink the good lady that the predator state was
actively engaged in devising ways to provide the poor evicted people with
alternative accommodation and means of earning a livelihood. It is very
unlikely that the UN envoy will fall for such cheap gimmicks.

The tsunami that was unleashed on the poor people by the evil Mugabe regime
will not go unpunished. Mugabe and his henchmen may be proud of their
brutality and capacity to inflict pain and suffering with their unfettered
access to state power and the apparatus of coercion. But a day is coming
when they will have to run for their lives.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

Does Tabaijuka dare to criticise?
Anna Tabaijuka has a tough task ahead of her. She has seen first-hand the
horrors of Operation Murambatsvina. The victims have cried out to her for
help. Numerous groups have petitioned her and plied her with documents,
photographs and evidence. Mugabe's officials have wined and dined her,
played on her sensitivities as a fellow-African and filled her ears with a
convoluted wish list of unrealistic and unachievable schemes.
They are now promising to build 1.2 million new homes by 2008 - three years
from now - when in the past 25 years they have only been able to build 10

We sincerely hope that, as an economist, she will see through these
fabrications and that, as a woman, she will be moved to compassion by the
evidence of homeless mothers and their starving, freezing children.

She undoubtedly has the ear of Kofi Annan - or he would not have sent her in
the first place. Her statements on arriving in Zimbabwe were uninformed and
naïve - we trust her experiences of the past week have given her the wisdom
and courage to do the right thing and report back without fear, favour or
misplaced zeal for African solidarity.

However, even if she manages to overcome the many obstacles in her path,
what could a damning report of her findings lead to at the UN? Most African
nations have made it clear that they will continue to shield Mugabe from all
criticism. Our only hope is that the ratcheting up of international
condemnation, coupled with Thabo Mbeki's purported change of heart, will
open a new chapter.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean
Mbeki’s U-turn – just a G8 ploy?
Zimbabwean activists trash South AFrican fruit and wine in a desperate attempt to draw attention to South Africa's failure to condemn Mugabe's Operation Murambatsvina
Credit: Jill Mott
LONDON – As signs emerged this week of African leaders seeking to distance themselves from Robert Mugabe’s latest excesses, Zimbabwean demonstrators trashed South African fruit and wine outside London’s Guildhall to protest President Thabo Mbeki’s continued propping up of the Zimbabwe regime.
Delegates attending a meeting to promote Mbeki’s favourite project, NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), were confronted by a noisy group of about 40 Zimbabweans calling for a boycott of South African goods. “We are not anti-South African, simply determined to make our point that President Mbeki can make all the difference if he recognises publicly what is going on next door,” said the organisers.

The Zimbabwe Diaspora Coalition expressed fears that the protest would alienate South African trade unions, which have shown solid support for the opposition MDC and criticised Mbeki’s lack of action.

“It is controversial, especially after the Live 8 concert calling for aid to feed the hungry in Africa, and here we are trampling food into the pavement,” said protestor Sean Robinson. “But we are desperate, and we demand an answer to the question: Does Mbeki condone what Mugabe is doing? If he does, and this certainly seems to be the case, then perhaps we are doing our friends in South Africa a favour - maybe Mbeki is thinking along the same lines as Mugabe.”

But signs of hope appeared on the horizon as MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai met Mbeki in Pretoria at the weekend and said he was satisfied that the SA premier now saw the need for urgent action on the Zimbabwe issue. However, it remains to be seen whether this will translate into positive action. Some political observers believe this is merely a plot on Mbeki’s part to smooth his passage at the G8 meeting this week.

Mbeki himself had not commented at the time of going to press but his spokesman switched from expressing irritation with Western demands for Mugabe’s neighbours to act, to saying that Mbeki had spoken out. “He went to Zimbabwe twice and in the presence of President Mugabe expressed his displeasure about things,” said Bheki Khumalo.

Other encouraging signs include the dispatch by the African Union of an envoy to Zimbabwe, after saying the six-week-long demolition of thousands of homes in urban areas under Mugabe’s Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Filth) was an internal matter.

And UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka, a Tanzanian, extended her visit, seeing at first hand the devastation of neighbourhoods and the thousands of people herded into makeshift camps in hellish conditions, without shelter or hygiene.

An international chorus of voices has been raised in the past week: US President George Bush joined in pointing a finger at Mbeki, saying South Africa had to stand up to Mugabe over the demolitions and forced evictions which, the MDC estimates, have made more than one million people refugees in their own country.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said African leaders’ reluctance to speak out about Mugabe’s “outrages” was bad for Zimbabweans and “bad for the reputation of Africa”.

South African Methodist bishops, in a scathing statement, called on Mbeki to do more to help refugees from Zimbabwe and criticised his so-called quiet diplomacy toward Mugabe. “We have on our hands a complete recipe for genocide,” said the bishops.

In similar vein, Zimbabwean human rights activist Judith Todd, exiled by Ian Smith’s white-minority regime and now stripped of citizenship by Mugabe, said the regime was “genocidal”, now intent on killing the last opponents.

“If, in bitter winter, you deprive people and their children of shelter and thus also their food and clothing and warmth - if you deprive them of their tools of trade and their means of survival, you do this for one reason only: you intend them to die,” Todd told the Cape Town Press Club.

Urging international action, Todd said there should be no more solidarity with Zanu PF and no more political cover. The meetings of the G8, AU and UN should be used to launch “very serious action ... against the genocidal regime.”
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

Rage, not rock is what Africa needs

LONDON - Africa is run by "A ruling class of greedy men, sheltered by a
popular culture of gawping passivity in the face of political swagger, is
suffocating the people of Africa and neither tears nor money nor rock music
should be our first response. Rage, not rock, is called for."
Matthew Parris, journalist, former Tory MP, and an ex-Zimbabwean, urges the
leaders of the G8 to become "pitiless in their resolve to make pariahs of
black Africa's cruel and rotten governments."

Writing in the Times, Parris says he despairs of the "pity" displayed by the
British liberal establishment: "God spare Africa from mercy. God deliver
Africa from The Guardian. God protect Africa from the Synod of the Church of

Pity, says Parris, "poisons the continent." Africa's situation is
intolerable and unacceptable but there are people "making a go of things."

So why are Africa's leaders, and Western pop stars not getting mad at
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe for displacing almost a million people
in just a few weeks?

Some commentators are less optimistic about tackling Africa's ills. Moeletsi
Mbeki, brother of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, argues that
"strengthening the state has led to more oppression, less accountability and
greater underdevelopment. Since independence, political elites have
suppressed or prevented the development of the civic institutions that
strengthen society and provide a balance to the power of the rulers." The
way the development of the state has unfolded in Africa is seen by some
commentators as testimony to the 'hopelessness' of the continent's leaders.

Mr Mbeki, writing in the Mail on Sunday said "The truth of Western aid is
that for every pound, dollar and euro that finds it way to the needy,
another is propping up corrupt governments such as Mugabe's.

Prime Minister Tony Blair too, has faced his own critics back home on his
Africa agenda. Michael Buerk in the Daily Mail wrote: "Gordon Brown talks
airily of a new Marshall Plan that would do for Africa what America did for
Europe after the war. But Africa has already had more than 10 times as much
aid as Europe needed to get back on its feet and it is still on its knees."

Most of the more experienced Africa watchers, black and white, admit now
that governance in Africa is the critical area in need of reform - Africa's
biggest single problem. Africa's rulers, says Parris, "are the laughing
stock of the world, and ordinary Africans should know it. Where is the
satire, where the anger, where the mockery and derision, that these brutal
boobies deserve?.Only Alan Coren of this newspaper (The Times) ever dared to
subject an African leader, Idi Amin, to sustained ridicule; and
progressive-minded readers in Britain didn't approve."

While there has been condemnation from Western leaders of Mugabe's recent
orgy of destruction, not a single African leader has raised his voice in
criticism. Even the 53-member Africa Union has stubbornly refused to condemn
the new atrocities of the Zimbabwe regime, or even mildly criticise them.

And when Kate Hoey, a Labour MP, returned from a secret visit to Zimbabwe
with a film showing the extent of the demolitions of homes there, the
response from the British government was muted. Hoey called on Prime
Minister Tony Blair to put pressure on President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa, and there were further calls from peers in the House of Lords, from
Michael Howard, leader of the Conservative Party, and from various human
rights organisations for the Blair government to criticise Africa's failure
to condemn Mugabe.

However, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, "It's very disappointing that,
in the face of very clear evidence, they (African leaders) have been
unwilling to speak out against these outrages. That's bad for the people
directly affected in Zimbabwe. It's also bad for the reputation of Africa."
When asked, however, if the British government would call Mbeki to task over
his overt support for Mugabe, Straw replied: "I don't think name-calling
necessarily advances what one is trying to do."

Earlier, Britain's High Commissioner in Pretoria, Paul Boateng, in an
outspoken statement, had warned of the issues at stake in Africa. It failed
to draw a response.
Fearing that his Africa Commission was about to be consigned to the dustbins
of history, it is reported that Britain called on the United States to issue
Mbeki with an ultimatum: if you want aid and debt relief, start putting your
house in order. President Bush issued that ultimatum - in a lengthy
interview with the Times.

He effectively acted as spokesman for the G8 when he delivered that strong
message to Africa's leaders and to Mbeki in particular. Bush said South
Africa was a great democracy and a strong nation in Africa and it had to
stand up to the Mugabe regime over its demolition campaign, driving urban
poor into famine-hit rural areas.

"Next door to you is a person that is destroying a country because of bad
policy, and It's not right. And the nations in the neighbourhood must be
strong," said Bush.
Bush's remarks followed those made by the AU's principal spokesman, Desmond
Orjiako, that the organisation did not interfere in the internal affairs of
its 53 member countries. To satisfy the G8, the AU is now under pressure to
activate its peer review mechanism - which on paper endows the organisation
with the right to intervene in the affairs of other African states that fail
to practice good governance.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

Fuel prices worsen worker's plight
HARARE - The government has urged businesses not to increase prices of goods
and services by more than 10%; a stipulation that, if previous years are
anything to go by, will fall on deaf ears. The state is set to gazette new
prices for basic commodities but analysts feel this move will only see
essential goods disappearing from supermarket shelves and reappearing on the
black market.
'It never rains but it pours'- a tired cliché but nonetheless a fitting
summation of the plight of workers in the lower income bracket in Zimbabwe
at the moment.

Already reeling from: the high rate of inflation; a severe housing crisis
wrought by the municipal 'clean up' campaigns and an acute shortage of
public transport, the not-so- privileged will now have to bear the brunt of
an increase in the pump price of fuel. The cost of petrol and diesel rose by
nearly 300 percent last week.

Though they do not necessarily need to purchase fuel, as they do not have
their own motor vehicles, there is a great deal of anxiety among this group
over the ripple effect the increases of this commodity will have on their
day- to-day lives.

Transport operators, never ones to miss a chance to profiteer - even at the
expense of their less fortunate countrymen, have already started charging
new fares for their respective routes. Traveling to distant suburbs such as
Mabvuku and Ruwa now costs Z$10 000 per person, with trips to Greendale,
Msasa, Belvedere and other suburbs nearer to town pegged at Z$5 000.

David, a construction worker residing in Zengeza but working in Mandara
complains, "I will now have to spend about Z$150 000 dollars every week to
get to work."

His transport budget alone now requires an average of Z$600 000 each month,
a princely sum considering that he earns less than Z$900 000 a month.

David admits that boarding ZUPCO (Zimbabwe United Passenger Company) buses
is a much cheaper option as their fares to the different suburbs range
between Z$1-2 000 a trip. The throngs of desperate commuters seen waiting at
the various terminuses allotted to the state-subsidized company every peak
period prove this fact.

"It is cheap so it becomes really crowded. Once I stood in a queue for more
than four hours." David recalls. Clearly the current fleet is nowhere near
big enough to meet demand. However last Friday, a day after the government
threatened to clamp down on businesses that imposed price increases of more
than 10% for the provision of goods and services, ZUPCO bus fares soared by
over 300%.

Rentals have also shot up alarmingly. Unscrupulous landlords, more than
eager to make a quick buck, are capitalising on the prevailing situation.
There has been a marked rise in complaints by tenants living in or seeking
accommodation within convenient walking distances from their work places.
Property owners have been accused of setting exorbitant rates and hiking
them at will. This pattern is especially prevalent in the city center and it's
environs, such as Sunningdale.

Food costs are also expected to escalate as manufacturers try to recoup
profits eroded by delivery expenses - more bad news since most families,
particularly those whose breadwinners have blue-collar jobs, are struggling
to afford the one basic meal a day as it is.

At present a 10kg bag of mealie meal ranges between Z$30-40 000 with the
price of a 750ml bottle of cooking oil at about Z$25 000. Bread has become a
luxury for many as bakeries and retailers sell a plain loaf at anything
between Z$5 - 10 000.

David is of the opinion that until they derive meaningful financial gains
for their toil, low earners will always be the worst affected by spiraling
inflation and subsequent price increases. It seems, as times get harder, the
rich get richer and the poorer get poor; for the workers of Zimbabwe this is
more than just another cliché.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

Hoodwink attempt hits a snag
HARARE - The Zimbabwean government's move to hoodwink the world about the
morality of operation remove trash by building sample houses at Whitecliff
farm has hit a snag. Eddies Pfugari Properties, the original owners have
been granted a provisional order by the High Court giving the Mugabe
government 10 days notice to stop its "illegal" activities on the property.
"Our client was naturally surprised and disappointed by the government
action, since it had not consulted them about the proposed development,"
said George Gapu of Scanlen and Holderness, the law firm representing Eddies
Pfugari Properties.

He emphasised that the farm was still private propety owned by Pfugari and
the government had no right to take the property under any law in the
country. The minister of national housing and local authorities Ignatius
Chombo remained adamant and said that the order had no effect whatsoever and
government would continue to build as planned.

"Actually we are allowed to acquire peri-urban land for expansion and the
farm was gazetted way back," he said, adding that Eddies was aggrieved it
should seek recourse through the land committee not the courts. "My ministry
is only a beneficiary on this issue."

It remains to be seen whether the government complies with the court order
granted by Justice Anne Gorowa.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean
Tapiwa loses all - home, hope, trust
Woman watches as a house is demolished in the on-going clampdown by the Zimbabwean government on what it terms illegal structures. Many of the resulting homeless families, like Tapiwa's, have been moved to a holding camp on Calendonia Farm. Their future is bleak.
Credit: IWPR
Evicted from Hatcliffe, where he paid for a government lease five years ago, dumped with his family without shelter at Caledonia Farm, facing destitution in a drought-stricken rural area, Tapiwa has lost everything: his possessions, his hopes, and also his trust in a regime he despises and which he believes despises him. This is his story as told to SW Radio Africa. To protect Tapiwa from even more official brutality, his name has been changed.
Tapiwa had been in Hatcliffe Holding Camp since 1993, and like hundreds of other residents, had good reason to believe this, even his humble log cabin, was home. Not only did he pay, first, for temporary shelter and later in 2000 for a government lease, but official high-ups came visiting, bringing promises of serviced stands and permanent homes.

Tapiwa recalled that Robert Mugabe himself came in 1994, addressed a rally at the Hatcliffe One Primary School, and told everyone they would be given accommodation soon. And it wasn’t all just talk. By 2000, 3 000 stands had been serviced, Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo showed up, and stands were allocated both to Hatcliffe residents and to people from Dzivarasekwa camp, established in 1991 when Queen Elizabeth II visited Zimbabwe. Official approval didn’t end there. In 2000 Mugabe came again and Chombo, before the assembled crowd, announced a $10 million grant for a school. It was duly built.

When the police, the militia and the bulldozers swooped as Operation Murambatsvina got underway, not even the school was spared. “Yes, the school was destroyed, itself,” Tapiwa told SW Radio Africa. “… This is called Operation Restore Order. But as we see it … it’s Operation Restore Disorder, or Operation Murambavarombo (Drive Out The Poor), because the poorer people, they are the ones denied their rights.”
Now Mugabe and his officials could tell Tapiwa anything, and he would not believe it. He called Chombo a liar, one of many in an administration which is “always lying to the people or to the nation or to the whole international community, that the government is trying to solve this issue of accommodation. But the truth is that the government doesn’t have any money.”

“… The government is not caring because most of the Ministers are enjoying themselves. They are driving Mercedes Benz, they are staying in Glen Lorne, they have got more than two farms … they don’t care about the poor people.” Any new houses, he said, would go to the likes of police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, and other Mugabe cronies or their friends and relatives.
At Caledonia Farm, Tapiwa experienced first-hand the hollowness of the official propaganda. There he found 10 tents, which he said were contributed by Christian Care, and sufficient to accommodate just 100 of the some 2 000 families dumped with the Tapiwa family. They live in the open air. There is scant sanitation, insufficient food and running water, and the ever-present threat of cholera.

Tapiwa is headed to Mabvuku where a friend with a three-roomed house has offered him and the family temporary accommodation in one room. He thinks, however, he will have to take them all to his drought-stricken rural area. It will be a struggle, but the alternative seems even worse: rising crime, more homelessness and hopelessness. “Criminal activity is increasing each and every day now, because those people who were in the informal sector, some of them have turned to criminal activities. It is dangerous to walk alone especially after 6 pm, it is dangerous to wash your clothes and put them on the wire while you are not around.”
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

On the run - from our own govt
Dear Family and Friends,

Three afternoons in a row this week I could hear what I thought was a kitten
crying and stopped what I was doing to concentrate on listening to work out
where the sound was coming from. On the fourth day, the mewling was loud and
persistent and as the sun sunk into the horizon my son and I went out onto
the road to see if we could find the kitten.
We looked in the long, dry grass for movement, in the sand for footprints
and up in the trees in case the kitten was stranded. We called and listened,
checked the drain under the road and culverts near gates - but the plaintive
crying had stopped and we could find nothing. It was almost completely dark
when we got home and I stood looking out in the direction the noise had come

The temperature was dropping dramatically, the first stars were coming out
and then suddenly I saw people emerging from the bush. A woman in the
background and then three young children whose clothes were very tattered.
They were collecting something on the ground, in the dust where I had just
been. I couldn't see what it was but when I moved they saw me and ran away,
disappearing back into the bush.

The next afternoon I did not hear the kitten crying and have not heard it
again since . The woman and three children have disappeared too and I am
haunted by the sound wondering if it was in fact a baby crying and not a
kitten mewling.

Everywhere you go, the only topic of conversation is the ongoing demolition
of urban housing and we all wonder where these hundreds of thousands of
people who have been made homeless are going to go.

This week thousands more were made homeless when houses on Porta Farm were
demolished and four people died in that process. There are only questions
and no answers. How are these multitudes of people going to survive this
winter, what are they going to eat and what hope is there of any of the
children going to school?

As I sit here on a very cold winter morning in Zimbabwe writing this letter
the first Live 8 music concerts are underway. I do not have any hope
whatsoever that even one dollar of the money raised there will go to a woman
and three children who are living under a bush in a freezing Zimbabwe

This woman and her babies are on the run from their own government. Who will
give this woman her Live 8 dollar? Which corrupt official? Until next week,
ndini shamwari yenyu.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean

World Bank land report flawed
HARARE - The World Bank appears to have made a concerted attempt to
legitimise the Zimbabwe Government's decision to force the closure of
thousands of successful businesses and to empower political agitators to
confiscate the physical assets and personal property of a racial minority in
its Report No. 3199 ZW.
While the report is highly critical of the results achieved so far by the
beneficiaries of the state-sponsored looting of the country's principle
economic sector, it makes no mention of the massive injustices inflicted on
commercial farmers and their families or on the farmers' employees and their
families. Where mentioned, the damage done to the economy is treated as
merely incidental to a greater, praiseworthy wealth redistribution

At no point in the report do its authors recognise that the considerable
technical and financial skills of the commercial farmers, acquired over many
years, accounted for their success. Neither do they acknowledge that this
success was regularly achieved despite highly uncertain weather conditions
and despite the many severe difficulties imposed by constraints on the

These skills constitute the real wealth of the farmers and this wealth could
not be made subject to the redistribution process.

Frequent references are made to drought and various other weather-related
reasons for the inadequate performance and the disappointing harvests since
the land reform programme was launched. In fact, the weather patterns in
these years have been unexceptional. Most commercial farmers would have
taken the temporary setbacks in their stride, had they been left to continue

The World Bank appears to feel justified in remaining silent on the social
dimensions of the destruction of Zimbabwe's largest industrial sector,
largest employer, largest export revenue earner largest source of
manufacturing inputs and largest customer for industrial and commercial

Because of the Zimbabwe government's disregard for these complex inter
linkages every sector of the economy has suffered a severe decline, gross
domestic product has fallen below one U.S. dollar per day, foreign
investment inflows have stopped, domestic investments have almost been
arrested by the confiscation of domestic savings by government and a high
proportion of the countries skilled workers have had to leave the country to
find work.

The report is void of any reference of the desirability of economies of
scale, which were made possible by large scale operations that, in turn,
made farming a profitable pursuit. Instead the World Bank refers to
subsidies, grants, donor funding and other support mechanisms for sustaining
what would have to be hundreds of thousands of unprofitable small scale
farms. The fact that Zimbabwe as a developing country, cannot afford to fund
subsidies and grants and would be forced to remain perpetually dependant on
aid appears not to be considered a serious issue by the World Bank.

Unfortunately the authors of the report have accepted without question the
Zimbabwe government's claim that severe overcrowding in the communal areas
fully justified the dispossession of commercial farmers and the reallocation
of their land to small scale and peasant farmers. The fact is that communal
areas were short of capital and management skills, not space.

The population density of those areas was too high only because the farming
methods and the land tenure system were damaging to the soil fertility and
imposed limits on the range of options and the funding available to farmers.
It should not have been difficult for the World Bank to point out in the
report that a better option would have been to adopt the successful
commercial farming methods and land tenure systems in the communal areas
instead of inflicting the inefficient and consumptive communal areas systems
onto the commercial areas.

While the report does make frequent references to land tenure issues, it
does not mention the immense advantages of placing land onto the market, of
permitting land to have a market related price, of permitting individuals to
have legally defendable ownership and transferability rights and of thus
permitting the land to have collateral value.

Title deeds, where they exist in an open market, form a bridge between the
farming sector and the banking sector. Where they do not exist, the farmers'
isolation from the banks makes them dependant on handouts and patronage. It
also undermines their need to do well to remain in business. The resulting
institutionally-supported mediocrity should not be the World Bank's
prescription for Zimbabwe's future.

In other respects, the World Bank report is a fund of valuable and very
detailed information and the authors display a wide ranging appreciation of
the support mechanisms needed to integrate the numerous facets of
state-controlled and directed resources. Unfortunately, the sheer weight of
this material disguises the absence of any justification for choosing or
supporting central planning options instead of open market options.

The study recognises that so far the newly imposed arrangements in the
farming sector have not worked and it sets about showing how they might be
made to work better. It seems that, to the World Bank, an acceptable target
is to achieve second-rate results for people who have no right to higher

It should, instead, have shown that the reforms were the wrong choices in
the first place and that whatever means had been chosen to carry them out,
they could never have delivered anything even approaching the true potential
of the country. And it should have pointed out that criminal injustices were
inflicted on the communities that were guilty of nothing other than
achieving genuine success as farmers.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwean
Easier to destroy than to build
Abigal Mafa cries after witnessing the destruction of her house in Kambuzuma
Credit: IWPR
BULAWAYO - The Johannesburg Sunday Times estimated that some 300 000 homes have been destroyed during the recent Murambatsvina campaign. Assuming five persons to a dwelling this would represent 1,5 million people. In the decade prior to this, the government of Robert Mugabe built less than 10 000 homes in the whole country. It just goes to show that it easier to knock things down than to build.
In a transparent attempt to cover its tracks, the Zimbabwe government is making a number of claims about the measures it says it is putting in place to alleviate the fall out of the Murambatsvina campaign.

Among others, it has in recent days claimed that it is making available, with immediate effect, 250 000 new stands for housing. It claims that it has put aside Z$3 trillion in new funds for housing and has ordered the Army to take control of this operation. This is the equivalent of US$300 million at current official exchange rates and about US$120 million at unofficial rates of exchange.

Even if such funds were made available they are sufficient for the construction of only 30 000 new high-density units and these would individually cost over Z$100 million each. Such housing, even if it were constructed in the next 12 months, would be completely out of the range of almost all of those displaced in the “clean up” campaign in the past six weeks.

In fact Harare City Council alone has a housing backlog of over 800 000 units. Across the whole country the backlog is thought to much greater and I estimate that up to 40 per cent of the urban population of 6,3 million people is in fact “homeless” in the sense that they are either lodging or occupy illegal structures – most of which have now been destroyed. That is a stunning 2,5 million people.

The magnitude of the human crisis created by the campaign defies imagination – some 1 million small businesses with over 3 million dependents, have been destroyed whilst over 300 000 school going children and some 200 000 infants, have been rendered completely homeless. In some of the smaller centers as much as a third of the total population has been physically displaced and is now homeless and destitute.

The further claim that these people will be given temporary accommodation and shelter while permanent arrangements are made for them is also a deliberate lie. Where people have been carted by government vehicles to these so-called “camps” they have been simply dumped on farms made derelict by the farm invasions and there, without food, water or sanitation, they are huddled with their meager goods in the open, without shelter. Their children have been taken out of school and there is little likelihood of their return in the near future.

The Zimbabwe government has justified this as being a campaign to destroy “illegal structures” and to “clean up the urban areas”. They are also claiming that by doing so they are attacking crime. In fact this is nothing but a war on the poor.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

    Operation 'Murambabtsvina' (Drive out Trash) is Crime against

Please publish this letter to on behalf of the voiceless and suffering of
the poor people of Zimbabwe. Operation 'Murambabtsvina is barbaric, savagery
and inhuman. Mugabe should be condemned by the civilized and progressive
world. The International Court of Justice should show that it has teeth.
Punish the perpetrators of human crimes once and for all. That will teach
lessons to other dictators and their misguided admirers.

Operation Murambatsvina is meant to punish urban supporters of the
Opposition and armed police and no charity is meant. When Mazhingzhong
(Chinese) fighter jets are roaring in the skies while heavily armed solders
and riot police with Malawi imported teargas cans, the notorious Central
Intelligence Organization (C.I.O.) spy organization patrol the streets, no
charity is meant. When bulldozers smash homes without warning, there is no
charity meant! Whose timetable was demolition squads adhering to the extent
of destroying poor people's livelihood? The so called Honorable Ministers
sleep comfortably therapedic beds in their homes soothing their bull necks,
triple chins and pot bellies after eating five course meals but won't stand
poor people and their children having a roof above their heads. This is
savagery act which can only be glorified as a master plan of development by
wicked people.
It is not surprising that dull, gullible and conscienceless leaders of
Africa glorify madness as vision.  Africa leaders who are paranoid of
Zimbabwean opposition admire Z.A.N.U. (P.F.)'s chaos and mayhem in towns
opposition as punishment to the Opposition. When Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania
denounces the Opposition in Zimbabwe, is this still an internal issue. On
the other hand Botswana police no doubt perfect the art of flogging on poor
souls fleeing persecution from Zimbabwe ruins. Zimbabwe neither belongs to
any single individual nor a political party not even to the monster Z.A.N.U.
(P.F.). The government displaced 1,5   million people and made them refugees
in their own country, is this an internal problem? If the country is
bankrupt during a drought and HIV/AID is wrecking havoc, where will the
regime get the resources to build standard houses for Operation Garikai
(Good living)? Action is needed now to contain this madness before it gets
out of hand.

Back to the Top
Back to Index